The History of Silicone Breast Implants
Silicone breast implants were first introduced in the 1960’s. Due to controversy in the early 1990’s there was a widespread fear about the possibility of silicone breast implants causing autoimmune diseases in women. Extensive studies since then have given no evidence that silicone breast implants have any relationship to breast cancer, autoimmune disease or any other systemic illnesses in patients. Specifically, patients with breast implants have no higher likeliness of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma or lupus, in comparison than those without breast implants.
The FDA approved the use of the third generation silicone gel implants in November of 2006 for women 22 years of age and older. These implants are not filled with liquid silicone, but rather a cohesive silicone gel. Click here for more details on breast implants.
The increased safety of the cohesive gel implants led to the FDA’s approval of these implants for cosmetic use. Saline implants are FDA approved for breast augmentation in women 18 years of age and older. The FDA regulates the age of approved use higher for silicone gel implants to ensure that a woman is emotionally mature enough and fully understands the risks of these implants.Both Saline and Silicone breast implants have their advantages and disadvantages. The silicone gel implants feel softer and more natural, have less chance of rippling, but are more expensive and have a higher chance of developing tightening of the scar tissue around the implant known as capsule contracture.
The manufacturers of silicone gel implants (Mentor and Allergan) recommend that you get an MRI after 3 years and then every 2 years thereafter to ensure that your implants are not leaking. Insurance will likely not cover the cost for an MRI. The manufacturers also warn that your insurance carrier may increase your health premiums or decline coverage if you have silicone gel implants.